Taiwan angered by US criticism of UN referendum plans (Roundup)

Taiwan angered by US criticism of UN referendum plans (Roundup)
By DPA
Aug 28, 2007, 10:11 GMT

Taipei – Taiwan on Tuesday expressed regret over US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte’s criticism of the island’s planned referendum seeking UN membership.

‘We regret Negroponte’s remark and think this is a misinterpretation (of Taiwan’s UN referendum),’ Taiwan press quoted Foreign Minister James Huang as saying.

‘The referendum is the most democratic and most peaceful way to express our wish to join the UN. We cannot understand Negroponte’s remark,’ he said.

In an interview with Hong Hong’s Phoenix Satellite TV on Monday, Negroponte criticized Taiwan’s plan to hold a referendum in 2008 on whether it should seek to rejoin the UN.

The US is firmly opposed to it because Washington sees it as Taiwan’s first step towards declaring independence and altering the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, Phoenix TV quoted him as saying.

Negroponte urged Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian to honour his inauguration pledge that he would not seek independence during his term, and take a responsible attitude in promoting Taiwan’s democracy and economy.

David Wang, spokesman of Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry, refuted Negroponte’s remarks, saying the UN referendum has nothing to do with Taiwan’s desire to change its status.

‘It has nothing to do with changing our national title or status quo. Nor is it anything provocative,’ Wang said in a news conference in Taipei.

He said the referendum is just a way for people to express what they like or not and should not be misread as the first step to declaring independence.

Negroponte’s remark is the strongest warning US officials have made so far against Taiwan’s upcoming UN referendum. The US has warned Taiwan and China against unilaterally changing the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and raising cross-Strait tensions.

President Chen wants to hold a referendum on joining the UN when Taiwan holds its presidential election in March 2008.

Chen claims that holding the referendum can unite Taiwan people and promote consensus on the UN issue, but China sees its as Taiwan’s plot to seek independence.

The referendum will be particularly sensitive to China because it will ask Taiwanese if the island should apply for UN seat under the name of ‘Taiwan.’

Taiwan’s formal title is the Republic of China, the name of the government which lost mainland China to the Communists and moved to Taiwan to set up is government-in-exile in 1949.

China is worried that Taiwan is taking small steps to change its official name from ROC to Taiwan to achieve formal separation from China.

China sees Taiwan as its breakaway province and has warned that it would recover Taiwan by force if Taipei indefinitely delays unification talks or declares independence.

So there you have it: the United States does not support Taiwan independence.  It has said it time and again as the Americans no longer have enough resources to spare for Taiwan due to Iraq and they require whatever military that remains to be ready for their future war with Iran.  If the Americans decide to destabilise Iran, Taiwan Province is screwed in any potential conflict with China as many pro-Taiwan pundits pointed out.

With that said, China is no longer afraid to use force if Taiwan decides to play stupid and declare independence.  After all, China has been spending the last 15 years modernising their armed forces to deal with Taiwan and developing ties with the Americans to finally resolve the Chinese Civil War.   It also doesn’t help that Taiwan Province did nothing in their recent trip to Central America but give bribe money to random countries in return for nominal support for a UN seat and against China.

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11 thoughts on “Taiwan angered by US criticism of UN referendum plans (Roundup)

  1. Last time I checked, Taiwan was already functioning as a sovereign independent state, and had been doing so as a pluralistic democracy since 1987. Thus, Taiwan has nothing to declare.

    The idea that Taiwan is not independent of China is what has to be declared over and over and over and over again by China requiring bribes, threats, propaganda, diplomatic pressure, and blackmail to foist this fiction on the International community of free and democratic peoples.

  2. Since the establishment of PROC in 1949, China has never had a solider stationed on Taiwan, yet it claims that Taiwan, already a democracy, is part of Communist China. If US can not support Taiwan, then what is the rationale to fight the war in IRAQ? The State department has become virtually an extenstion of Chinese embassey when dealing with Chinese lies regarding its claims on Taiwan.

  3. So you guys do agree that Taiwan is screwed if the US invades Iran. Good.

    I agree that Taiwan has nothing declare because it is not a country. Not recognised by the United States, the world, and sanctioned organisations such as the United Nations.

    It’s always easy to blame China for all of Taiwan’s problems. Then again, Costa Rica switched recognition out of its own free will and was not coerced into doing so. Their Nobel Prize winning President also pointed out that Taiwan also mistreats their 24 or so “allies”. None of their allies even support them in their failed bid to the UN and WHO.

    Taiwan is really not that important to begin with. The US cannot support Taiwan because most of their resources are being wasted on Iraq, though the US is more than willing to sell junk/obsolete arms to Taiwan at bad prices. The State Department looks out for the United States of America, not Taiwan because it is not US territory and offers little of value.

    If anything went wrong for Taiwan province, they should blame themselves and their government instead of scapegoating China or even the Americans

  4. lifeinmotion,

    Thank you for pointing out the error in my previous comment. I meant to say that Taiwan has no need to declare independence because it is already independent. China has no legitimate claim on Taiwan. If you think it does please disclose the historical, political, and legal supporting evidence. If you cannot lay out the evidence, you are obviously unable to see past China’s propaganda.

    I believe you misinterpret the post by Stan Yang. He seems to be chastising the US Administration (esp. guilty is the State Department) for not supporting the decisions of the established democracy in Taiwan while seemingly trying to create a democracy (out of nothing) in Iraq. Such a policy is hypocritical and self defeating. I cannot see how you get from his words that he is saying that the fact that the US is fighting the war in Iraq means it cannot fulfill its obligation under the Taiwan Relations Act to assist in the defense of Taiwan against Chinese aggression.

  5. The Bush administration is willing to sell obsolete weapons to Taiwan at bad prices while at the same time diverting American resources all over Iraq.

    The result is New Orleans is still a mess, US bridges are not maintained, and not enough troops to do anything should Taiwan provoke a war with China.

    Taiwan is fortunate to be an autonomous economic entity at this point, yet it is not a country in the sense Costa Rica is. If the world including the US of A considers that Taiwan is not a country, then it’s not a country especially when Taiwan’s status around China has been formalised by the United Nations.

  6. Taiwan is not a de jure independent sovereign nation. Taiwan has tried to gain International legitimacy by attempting and failing 14 consecutive times to gain UN membership. If it was truly a sovereign nation, it would already been a UN member. But 170 countries do not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation, so despite claims to the contrary, Taiwan is not recognized by the vast majority of sovereign countries in this world. Taiwan has no leverage to gain what it covets, since it doesn’t have enough support from the International community. Since Chen took office, support has actually decreased, as Taiwan is only down to 20+ insignificant countries in the South Pacific and Latin America, that support it. That’s not going to change, as Taiwan must work hard just to keep the support of the few countries they have left supporting it. According to IMF, China will replace US as the world’s leading economic engine this year, and as China continue emerging and returning to world economic superpower, the trend doesn’t favor Taiwan gaining anything of substance. The economic absorption of Taiwan is already well under way. China is now Taiwan’s #1 export market. That dependence will grow. US is supporting China’s position and critcizing Taiwan for the referendum, because US is increasingly dependent on China’s financing. US is the debt-ridden country and depends more on China’s financing. Furthermore, as China and many other Asian countries decouple from US, there is less and less dependence on exporting to US. Evidence of decoupling include China’s GDP at 10% and US slumping at less than 1% this last quarter. Even the US sub-prime mess hasn’t really hurt China, since China wasn’t large investors in MBS. The economies of US and China are going in opposite directions, as China still has sectors of GDP, like consumer and government, that hasn’t truly contributed to GDP growth yet. In contrast, US consumer and government sector is already heavily burdened with existing debts, so future growth is rather limited. US export engine isn’t competitve globally because its monetary inflation policy has inflated cost of living, rendering labor cost too high in US, making US products non-competitive since many in the world can easily undercut US by price. All of this means, US will be more dependent on China, and cannot afford to support Taiwan. That’s partly the reason you are seeing US back away from Taiwan support, and move towards supporting Status Quo, so time are bridge the political gap between China and Taiwan, so one day, it can lead to a peaceful resolution. But for now, the trend is economic absorption of Taiwan, buying time, allow the political differences to close, leading to a peace conclusion.

  7. JR,

    The argument that if Taiwan were truly a sovereign nation, it would already be a UN member is circular. China (with its UN Security Council veto power) is the very reason why Taiwan is not admitted to the UN and the only reason 170 other nations do not recognize Taiwan’s sovereign status. China won’t permit Taiwan to be admitted to the UN and won’t permit any nation that it has diplomatic relations with to permit such either.

    Also, note that if Taiwan truly had no sovereign status (i.e. was not independent) China would have taken Taiwan by now. It’s been well over a decade since China began building up it’s military to do just that and Taiwan has all those inferior weapons, right? Why hasn’t China moved?. You might say, it is because of the United States pledge to defend Taiwan. Why would the United States defend Taiwan? Perhaps it is because the United States, despite its Administration comments to the contrary, considers Taiwan to have some form of sovereign status, be it de facto independence, be it under US sovereignty (I don’t buy this one), or be it that the island is too strategic to US security interests to forfeit to China.

    As far as your economic evaluation of China, the US, and Taiwan I do not feel qualified to comment beyond saying that the United States has made a big mistake by thinking that free trade with China will change China to be more free, like the West. Everyday, it looks more and more like the opposite is the case–free trade with China, absent an ethical foundation as a basis for democracy, and free trade with China at the expense of America’s manufacturing base, has corrupted China (and the US) even more than otherwise would be the case, while simultaneously entangling the US in a trade quagmire created by rightly singing the praises of free trade without considering that free trade with un-free nations is not fair trade or free trade, but rather failed trade.

    I hope both of us are wrong with regard to the economic issues, but I’m pessimistic on such prospects at the moment.

  8. Life in Motion, Costa Rica was offered 400M $ from China to break relations with Taiwan. It was a sum Taiwan obviously could never have outbided.

    And Taiwan never mistreated their ‘allies’. Can you explain what do you mean by mistreating? Offering less amount of cash is mistreating?

  9. How is this any different from the amount Taiwan Province paid to get Saint Lucia? Trading Costa Rica away for Saint Lucia seems to be something that goes well for Taiwan.

    If Taiwan Province never mistreated Costa Rica, then why would their Nobel Prize-winning President warn Taiwan not to mistreat their allies if they want to keep support? To Taiwan’s so-called allies, the island they claim to support is just a credit card with unlimited credit that never needs repayment.

  10. Costa Rica’s president meant by mistreating not giving enough. He even called Taiwan stingy after all the money given!! Oh well, I think we’ll let China satisfy his greed while we put that money on other more important issues like National Security.

  11. Actually most of that money spent on Costa Rica is now being dumped on the remaining Central American and African allies. More for them and better trade relations for Costa Rica. LOL

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